Gov. Doug Burgum, in conjunction with the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH), released recommendations today for events and public gatherings in light of the spread of novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
The recommendations outline different strategies for events and public gatherings based on three levels of risk, or thresholds.
“These recommendations are designed to help leaders, event organizers and others determine which actions are needed to mitigate and contain the spread of coronavirus,” Burgum said. “While North Dakota is currently at the lowest risk level, with one confirmed case of COVID-19 and no evidence of community spread, event organizers are free to implement more stringent restrictions. We anticipate crossing these thresholds as community spread of COVID-19 arrives in North Dakota.”
Following are definitions and recommendations for the three risk levels:
- Low Risk - Threshold 1 means unmitigated or uncontained community transmission of coronavirus is occurring elsewhere, but there may not be evidence of significant community transmission in North Dakota yet. At this level, authorities should consider initiating minimally restrictive, or burdensome, but effective mitigation measures. Additionally, authorities should consider canceling or postponing events where a substantive number of attendees are from high-risk locations or high-risk populations.
North Dakota has had one individual test positive for COVID-19, but the case did not involve community transmission. The Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed the state’s first presumptive case of COVID-19 in a Ward County resident in his 60s. The man had traveled out of state where he had contact with a person who has since tested positive for the disease. The Ward County man is currently self-isolating and recovering at home as the public health investigation is ongoing and NDDoH awaits confirmation testing from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Moderate risk - Threshold 2 is defined as evidence that unmitigated or uncontained community transmission of coronavirus is occurring in at least one geographic jurisdiction within the state. At this level, authorities should consider canceling or rescheduling events if located within the area that has community transmission of the disease or if a large number of attendees are anticipated to come from these impacted areas. Consider alternative attendance options such as web-based, televised only or remote attendance.
- High Risk - Threshold 3 means there is widespread community transmission of coronavirus within North Dakota. At this level, authorities should cancel or postpone all events that involve the potential for disease transmission and cannot accommodate alternative attendance options.
The CDC recommends adults over the age of 60 and individuals with multiple underlying health conditions refrain from group activities. Individuals who think they may have COVID-19 should call their health care provider first before going to the clinic, unless it’s an emergency.
An additional 11 tests came back negative today at the NDDoH lab, bringing the total number of negative tests to 23 since testing began last week.